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Ex. Sen-Dean Skelos files for pension 11 days after conviction, officials say

Former Sen. Dean Skelos, right, with his son,

Former Sen. Dean Skelos, right, with his son, Adam Skelos, both of Rockville Center, were convicted in their corruption trial in a sudden, decisive verdict on Dec. 11, 2015. Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

Former state Sen. Dean Skelos filed for his state retirement benefits 11 days after he was convicted of eight counts of corruption, officials said Tuesday.

Skelos, the Rockville Centre Republican who served in the Senate since 1985 and was majority leader from 2011 to 2015, is in line for an annual pension of at least $95,000.

Public-employee pensions in New York are guaranteed under the state constitution even against criminal convictions.

Skelos and his son, Adam, were convicted of extortion, conspiracy and bribery on Dec. 11 in connection with pressuring companies to hire Adam in exchange for favorable legislation and for influencing a $12 million Nassau County contract that was eventually awarded to a firm that hired Adam.

Dean Skelos was expelled from the Senate upon conviction.

Sentencing has been set for March, although Dean and Adam Skelos are expected to appeal their convictions.

Skelos filed for his pension on Dec. 22, according to the state comptroller’s office. His effective retirement date is Jan. 2.

Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) also applied for his pension just days after he was convicted Nov. 30 of extortion and money laundering.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, whose office prosecuted Silver and Skelos, has vowed to try to seize convicted lawmakers’ pensions by using federal forfeiture provisions in criminal cases. But it is unclear if he will go after Skelos’ retirement benefits.

In the Skelos indictment, Bharara’s office said it would seek to seize roughly $300,000 from Adam Skelos’ bank accounts and a house he owns in Rockville Centre — while not specifically targeting any of Dean Skelos’ assets. The indictment included a caveat that if Adam’s assets weren’t sufficient to satisfy a judgment, prosecutors could seek to seize other assets of the defendants.

Prosecutors said specifically that they would seek to appropriate Silver’s pension benefits if they could not otherwise recoup the $4 million they said he garnered through corruption schemes.

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